Sunday Music – Let It Be

Posted on Sun 02/21/2010 by


Today’s music video is ‘Let It Be’ from The Beatles.

This video was posted to You Tube by josueharrison

Sometimes, a song that you have heard so often over the years has some history behind it. The same applied with The Beach Boys ‘Heroes And Villains‘ that I highlighted four weeks back, and the same applies with this wonderful song from The Beatles. What brought it to my mind again was that I heard the song the other day on one of the local radio stations, and after the song, the announcer mentioned that this version of the song was the quieter version released for radio stations that did not like the version with the ‘heavy’ guitar solo in the middle. I knew of the history, and my favourite was indeed that version with the ‘heavy’ guitar version in it, and that is the clip featured above.

Paul McCartney wrote the song in January of 1969, following a dream he had about his mother who passed away when he was 14. In the dream his mother, Mary, mentioned ‘It will be all right, just let it be’.

The song was released as a single, and then also on the album of the same name, ‘Let It Be’, and there’s some history about that album as well. It was the second last album that the Beatles worked on. The last album they worked on as a band was ‘Abbey Road’. However, mainly due to the four members levels of perfection, the ‘Let It Be’ album was still being worked on, as they each wanted each song to be just right. Because of that, ‘Abbey Road’ was actually released before ‘Let It Be’, giving the impression that these last two albums were the other way around when referred to as the last and second last albums.

The original was first performed in January of 1969, and was part of the film the band made, that film also called ‘Let It Be’. In this film version, that break between vocal sections features one guitar version from George Harrison, and the organ and electric piano is being played by the legendary Billy Preston.

That version was then mastered up for release as the single, and here is where George Martin added the strings and orchestral backing as well.  For this single release version, George Harrison then introduced a different version again of his guitar break in that space between Paul’s vocals. The single was finally released in March of 1970, and this following video is indeed that ‘Single’ version release, that most radio stations play, and somewhat erroneously call the quieter version. Showing some insight into Paul’s future intentions, Linda. Eastman adds backing vocals on this single release version, the only time she appears on a Beatles album. Paul later married Linda and they both went on to further huge success with their own band Wings.

This video was posted to You Tube by KnowGuitar

George, ever the perfectionist, was still not really happy with that guitar break, and, this time in concert with Phil Spector, added a somewhat more stinging version of a different guitar break again, and this is the version that finally made it onto the album ‘Let It Be’. Because most radio stations had the single release version on their playlists, that version got most radio airtime, and the album version, released well after the Single was not heard very often when played on radio.

For the movie itself, a different version again was included in the movie, this one closer to the original as Paul and the band first played it. This following video is that version from the movie, and was never released as part of any Beatles albums.

In this version you can plainly see Billy Preston in that central break, as well as Yoko Ono leaning over John’s shoulder.

This video was posted to You Tube by SiouxPower

Over the years, there have been many re releases of ‘The Best Of’ types of albums, and new CD compilations, and on most of these, the original version released as the Single is the version of this song used on them, so that version with the later and ‘heavier’ guitar is not easy to find when looking for it.

In 2003, a new version of some Beatles songs was released as a new album, titled ‘Naked’. ‘Let It Be’ was also included on this album, a different version again. This version stripped away some of the backing sounds introduced by George Martin and also Phil Spector, and also included the original drum section from Ringo, as he was never quite happy with the overdubbed extra drum pieces in either the single or the album versions of the song. On this version of the song, however, the Album guitar solo is used.

So, even though Today’s Sunday Music Post shows the same song three times, there is a real history behind the song, and those three versions are distinctly different one from the other. One of the big problems I had for today’s post was actually trying to find those three different versions, and as you can see from the top one, the album version, some footage from the film version was included as part of that video. Keep in mind, all this was long before Mike Nesmith’s ‘Rio’ introduced the start of specifically made music videos.

For those who do not necessarily wish to listen to each of the three songs, the relevant area is around the 1.48 mark on each of the clips, but it varies by a couple of seconds on all of them.

Posted in: Music, Videos